Scorers: N’Gola(2), J.Dudmish, Smith
After a two week break due to Easter and Old Parks mysteriously not being able to field either of their two teams last week (what was going on there??), the sun was shining as we turned up at Firs park. Although our chance of promotion had gone we were keen to finish the season with a flourish. With a number of absences this week I was concerned at how long it would take for the side to gel and in a tight first half we looked ragged at times, but we stayed in the game and kept battling. Broomfield had a couple of pacy forwards that we struggled to get a grip of and the swirling wind made the high balls tricky for Ryan in goal who was fortunate to get away with a couple of missed catches. However Harry and James made some important interceptions when it was needed. As the half wore on some fluency began to come, with a couple of good moves and it was AP who made the breakthrough with 35 gone. A great ball down the middle split the defence and was finished off by Lewis who made a clever run in behind and tucked it in the net. We were on top now and it should have been two when John broke free and his classy chip beat the keeper but sadly also the crossbar by inches. Half time we were leading 1-0, but we knew we still had plenty of work to do.
The second half saw AP dominate. Sam, Nye and Jack were pulling the strings in the middle and Banny was as ever giving their defence a headache. However, it was Charlie who really did the damage, skinning the right back every time and getting in behind Broomfield. He set up the second goal when Sam’s beautiful ball over the top found him in acres of space, he put it on a plate for Jack to stoke home, 2-0. To be fair to Broomfield they did put us under quite a lot of pressure and nearly got a goal back when their striker took it past the keeper and although I was covering on the line it was Mike who came to the rescue with an excellent recovery tackle. The third goal settled things, when Sam’s curling corner was met by Banny who headed it into the corner and although the defender desperately tried to keep it out he could only help it into the net.
After this Broomfield looked like a broken side and it was all AP. John had a great chance to make it 4 when he found some space, took it past the defender and shot only to see it tipped round the post. We also should have had a penalty when Lewis’ legs were taken away after the ball had gone (the ref afterwards said he thought it was a pen but gave the defender the benefit of the doubt coz we were 3-0 up!). However finally the fourth did come in a similar fashion to the second. Charlie left the defender for dead, his cross this time found Banny in the middle who kept his composure and completed the job from 4 yards out. In the final moments of the game Banny again broke the offside trap, leaving the defence in his wake and bore down on the keeper for his hat-trick with the goal gaping. However rather than trying to beat the keeper himself he attempted to lay it off to Ditmar. Some would say it was unselfish, some unfathomable why our top scorer didn’t shoot. Instead the pass was overcooked and Ditmar didn’t have the pace to reach the ball as it rolled out. Chance wasted.
Overall it was a great performance, particularly in the second half, and I was pleased we kept our concentration at the back for what was only our second clean sheet of the season. Everyone in defence stuck to their jobs with Harry dominating the balls in the air and James, Mike and myself snuffing out the danger. The midfield worked hard and showed a lot of creative flair, and Banny added to his tally for the season with his poachers instinct. In reality we could have had 6 or 7 but we can be very happy with our work. It is just a shame that our consistency has been lacking this season, because on our day we can beat anyone in this league. We have a chance to prove that next week by doing the double over the league champions.
Man of the match was tough as several people had great games. Lewis did a great job showing pace and skill and Sam again had a great game in the middle. But Charlie has to get it this week, as he was just unplayable, destroying Broomfield’s back line and producing quality on the final ball.